Thursday, May 29, 2014

After watching all, a revisit to comments on "The World Wars" on the History Channel

On Monday, there was a positive post here on "The World Wars" on the History Channel after watching the first of three episodes.  After seeing all three there is a different perspective on this mini- historical series.

Given my interest in and knowledge of history, the short series was enjoyed, but not without qualification after getting the full picture.  As mentioned in the Monday comment the focus was on leaders, both tyrants and heroes.  Whether that singular focus has merit is a question for the ages, a few unique and powerful people versus the tectonic shifts of historical events.  That question will not be answered here.  The people focus made for interesting and accessible viewing.

This film was incredibly U.S. centric.  There were many instances of this.  One perfect example of was the taking of Sicily by the allies in 1943, finally getting a foothold in Europe.  Everything in "The World Wars" about this action was attributed to Patton and the U.S. troops.  In fact Montgomery and the British were fully involved as well.  They split paths, with Montgomery taking eastern path through Sicily and Patton through the middle and west.  These two humongous egos raced with their troops to see who could get to Palermo first.  The U.S. made it just ahead of the Brits, and were waiting in the town square with a brass band to welcome their fellow triumphant allies.

In the conference in Tehran in 1943 with Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin, Roosevelt, in the film, was seen as the main one talking and directing, with Churchill mute.  How unlikely is this?  Combine that with the fact that the most important meeting of the three leaders was in Yalta in February of 1945, and that was left out of the film.  That's the summit in which a sickly Roosevelt yielded to Stalin, and against Churchill, to cede all of Eastern Europe to Stalin's control when the inevitable conclusion of the war unfolded.  That set the table for the "liberation" of Poland by the Russian Army, Russia's long term bitter enemy, in which every woman between 8 and 80 in their path of "liberation" was raped, abused, and possibly killed, while small. town leaders were hung in town squares as soon as the Russians arrived.  What a slaughter Roosevelt blindly facilitated.  May Jan Karski someday be vindicated more completely.

This is much more than tedious nitpicking.  Some of the facts were seen through an agenda that, while not veering from actual facts exactly, distorted those facts by omission in numerous instances.  This was accessible and interesting history, but not reliably good history.  


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